Screengrab via Christopher Mykles (Public Domain)
The largest disciplinary action in esports history forced Renegades to sell its League of Legends franchise earlier this year, and nearly three months later the aggrieved parties are telling their side of the story.
Renegades was forced to sell its position in the LCS on May 8 after Riot Games claimed that the team’s new owner, Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, had an under-the-table deal to give former owner Chris Badawi, who was permanently banned from owning an LCS team a year prior, a stake in the team if his indefinite ban was lifted. Riot also alleged the team created an “unsafe environment” for players and that the team “deliberately misled” Riot about a corporate relationship with Challenger side Team Dragon Knights (TDK) pertaining to a player trade the teams made late in the Spring season.
On Jul. 26, an ESPN report detailed what they learned about the investigation after contacting the team, its management, and players. The next day, Renegades’ founder and ousted former owner, Chris Badawi, who was CEO of Renegades when Riot forced them to sell the LCS spot, gave his side in an AMA on r/leagueoflegends.
Mykles, League commentator and owner of Renegades, released a one hour video today detailing how the ruling went down from his perspective and what he perceives are major flaws in Riot’s investigative process. In addition to the video, Mykles released a document detailing both his relevant communication with Riot and documents he sent to them.
The evidence confirms the ESPN report detailing the situation, which states that Mykles was the sole owner of the company, that the trade with TDK was above the board, and that while there was an altercation between Badawi and player Maria “Remilia” Creveling, it was a single incident and the player requested to stay in the house for two weeks after leaving the team, indicating the environment was not “unsafe.”
Mykles also included email correspondence between him and Avi Bhuiyan, Riot’s League Operations Coordinator, who was investigating paperwork relating to the trade between Renegades and TDK. When Mykles brings his lawyer into the discussion, clearly concerned about the line of questioning, the Riot official becomes defensive. One month later on May 8, Mykles is contacted on Skype by Whalen Rozelle, Riot’s Director of Esports, and asked to discuss “issues regarding Renegades.” Mykles attempts to schedule a time to talk when his lawyer will be present, and eventually receives a response to plan to talk on Tuesday morning, May 10, and that Mykles will receive an email if there is “anything urgent.”
Under three hours later, according to Mykles’ screenshots, he received an email from Rozelle notifying him of the ruling forcing him to sell his team.
The evidence Mykles has put forth paints a picture of an investigative process where he, as the primary aggrieved party, was kept in the dark, never informed of the proceedings, and blindsided by the announcement.
Mykles has little to gain from disclosure. He won’t get his team back. He’s already sold the spot to EnVyUs. He already explored legal action, but says confidential clauses in contracts with Riot, likely limiting liability, means litigation isn’t worth it. He could even damage his career, costing him opportunities to commentate at Riot events in the future. But Mykles claims an “ethical obligation” to ensure third party investigations with transparency are used in the disciplinary process, not only for Riot but other parties in esports.
“This is not an acceptable way to be doing business in an expanding industry where these assets are very valuable and people are professionally invested in them,” Mykles said.
Whether that changes remains to be seen. Riot has not released the evidence they collected that prompted them to make such a harsh ruling, and it seems unlikely they’d make such an important decision, one that has a large affect on their esports ecosystem, potentially scaring off interested investors, without good reason. But we don’t know those reasons, and Riot has not disclosed them, and likely will not disclose them, so with publicly available knowledge, the ruling seems patently unfair to Mykles, especially when he was essentially never involved or privy to the process.
That’s something that should certainly change, and perhaps Mykles providing this information will lead esports in that direction.
You can watch Mykles’ video in whole below.